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By March 21, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

Pallet Hack

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Piles of colorful wooden pallets

Thanks to reader, C. Roberts, who emailed me this info on pallet deconstruction. A useful skill if you are planning to make use of the wood for projects such as our chair. Or seek out further inspiration from ideas on our Pinterest board dedicated to all thinks pallety.

The different uses to which pallets can be put is virtually endless. I made a fireside log box with a sliding seat from pallets, and even a small wooden spoon to make a cake when all our normal kitchen stuff was still packed after moving. It’s also still in use today, after 40 years, yet it took just three quarters of an hour to make, including engraving the handle! And 30 years ago I made a wooden wall salt box ‒ that someone wanted to buy because they thought it was an antique ‒ and a wall spill box (alas lost in a house fire), but I still have a hanging shelf for the kitchen, pan stands for hot pans, a ‘crush’ to hold an injured lamb upright, a pig sty, field shelters for the pigs, a ‘bespoke’ poultry shed with an en suite storage area, and a dog kennel with an undercover protected ‘dining area’… and much, much more.

You can, of course, keep it simple. Tart it up with a lick of paint and make use of the pallet as it is.

You can, of course, keep it simple. Tart it up with a lick of paint and make use of the pallet as it is.

  • Pallets are a great resource, and they really are built to last, which is why it can be so difficult to dismantle them. However, as they’re made of wood which effectively composts over time, they will rot after two years or so if left out in the open and not painted with a wood preservative (or soaked in paraffin or diesel)
  • You should not burn pallets when the wood is new as it sparks excessively and also coats the chimney with hard to remove deposits which can also be a fire risk. Pallets should be left outside to weather and become brittle before burning.
  • There is an art to dismantling pallets. Don’t use a hammer and nail bar to try and prise off the slats – this method is too likely to damage the valuable wood. Use a sledge hammer to do the job. Lay the pallet flat on the floor with the cross members uppermost, stand on the pallet slats and knock off the cross member using the sledgehammer. In nine cases out of ten the slats will be whole, either with the nails still in them or with holes where the nails were, but these can always be filled in later once the next DIY project is completed. You will certainly have far fewer damaged slats – the holy grail of pallet dismantlers ‒ if you do it this way.


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